Anyone who has gotten to know me, knows too perfectly well that I’ve been obsessed with the 1960’s since a was a kid. Anyway, every once in a while I go with Doug Newman and Tony Phillips, by way of their TIme Tunnel, to visit that era.
Recently they took me to a party in Greenwich Village during the summer of 1967~yes, it was that summer, the legendary notorious Summer Of Love. We arrived at Gerde’s Folk City at around 7:00 p.m., Monday, July 10. All the folkie greats of the day~Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Mimi and Richard Farina~were there. Even the Grateful Dead, along with Mountain Girl, made an appearance.
Dylan, at the time, was between 1966’s ‘Blonde On Blonde’ album, and ‘John Wesley Harding’, which would be released on December 27, 1967.
I’ve always been so claustrophobic, and shy around strangers, so I was forced to deal with quite a lot of anxiety. As if that weren’t bad enough, Dylan and Joan Baez, who had already broken up about two years earlier, were absolutely constantly at each other’s throats throughout the night. I could devote an entire lifetime to trying to depict the nasty atmosphere they subjected us all to. The tension in their company was quite unbearable.
I made sure I spent the night listening to all the musicians’ conversations, which, predictably, were about topics ranging from L.B.J. to Viet Nam. Since, alas, there was no internet access back then, I was forced to take copious notes with my trusty Bic pen and stationery.
It was an inviolable condition of my being allowed to attend the function that I wasn’t permitted to admit my being from another time frame, so I was exceptionally self~conscious about any risk of my either saying or doing something someone might have recognized as an anachronism.
The important thing, though, was that the music, not the least bit surprisingly, was absolutely beyond perfect. Although I was quite terrified, tiptoeing around upon egg shells for fear of being found out, I enjoyed it so much. It’s too bad I have no more proof for you than my word, but I really was there.